Thursday, 19 July 2018

Vinveli Payana Kurippugal: From Elon Musk to Thevaangu

It should be something that makes you feel idiosyncratic when you see Duraipandi aka Durai, a village thug wanting to visit space through Elon Musk's SpaceX. The plot of Vinveli Payana Kurippugal (VPK) is about his attempts to reach this goal, the path along which he has conflicts arising in form of caste associations, girlfriend's husband and politicians, apparently for which Durai needs to find a resolution.

The USP of VPK is its writing. As the title suggests, the movie is narrated in six chapters, referred to as kurippugal in Tamil. Each kurippu has a subject and a conflict. Every conflict has its resolution in its successive kurippu. Among the six segments, two have been named as Sila Thiruppangal (some twists) and Sila Nigazhvugal (some incidents). These two chapters are established carefully when writing that they connect with the rest. Having this mixed narration, the plot's subtext itself is a concoction of conviction, realisation, greed, and a peck of feminism.

Jayaprakash's writing has knitted novelty all over VPK's narration. Especially in dialogues, where the school dropout hero pronounces Neil Armstrong as 'Nila' Armstrong and Mt. Everest conqueror Tenzing as 'Don Singh', as a writer Jayaprakash has delivered the idea both in literal and figurative contexts - though he is not so sure about the names of the achievers, he has the same immensity of conviction they had and, wants to be like them someday.

There is also a dialogue between Durai's love interest Nandhini and her husband Anbu. Had it been carelessly written, it would have meant something more illicit, but Jayaprakash succeeds here as a matured writer by boldly speaking feminism. Though a section of the audience still cannot receive it on the go.

Despite shaping it to be a science-fiction at an apparent point of his screenplay, Jayaprakash brings in nativity to it. The thevaangu (loris) reference in the pre-climax is something that seems to be unnecessary in the first place, but leads to an unexpected twist towards the end.

It is in the same pre-climax, the hero comes to the realisation of what he is actually capable of - on a simple and subtle subtext.

The shortcomings of VPK occur in its cast. Though Athvik as Duraipandi shines throughout the runtime, we could see a lot of his co-artistes struggling to emote. The cast could have had some serious rehearsals before the schedule.

Athvik has shouldered VPK with his unique way of acting that delivers perfect amalgamation of black-comedy, thug-life and aberrance. He scores in a lot of sequences like eating the first piece of birthday cake and ordering his men to distribute the rest, taking control over the US return Jake with a lollipop in hand, and in the panchayat conversation with a new-in-town made up don.

Shots filmed with Blackmagic 4K camera and untouched colour exposure by DI team make VPK look in real-time visual shades without an exaggerated tone for setting the mood. Since Jayaprakash himself has handled the camera, he has restricted only to what he wants, despite few out of focus frames in the beginning.

Transforming the content that was available on papers to the screen could have been the hardest part of VPK's making. But, Jayaprakash has succeeded it as much as he can with the limited production value. Howbeit, the amateur filmmaking in some portions and dilettante actors let Jayaprakash's efforts down. Still, as an attempt and for its uncommon narration, VPK can be accredited a new benchmark among movies of its kind.

Personally, I felt VPK could have had more promotions before its release. Unfortunately, the movie seems to be hitting screens after a long delay in getting a release window - you can notice the old Rs. 1000 banknotes in a scene.

When I see this kind of movies going unnoticed, as a film freak it troubles me a lot mentally. If someone reading this viewer's note really loves and appreciates contemporary cinema, this flick is for them. Please do watch it. I also suggested the crew, after watching the press preview, to send this movie to film festivals around the globe. Movies of this fashion are meant for appreciation for the narrative style they adopt and the ideologies they speak. After all, cinema itself is meant to break its own conventions.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, July 19, 2018.

A part or complete version of this viewer's note by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.